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En Español — A Marketer’s Imperative: Connecting With U.S. Hispanics Online

1 Jun, 2017 By: Denira Borrero Response

More than ever, consumers are turning to product reviews and recommendations from their social networks, online search activities, and favorite e-commerce sites prior to purchasing a product or service — whether online or offline. An absolute imperative for any successful direct-to-consumer campaign is having a compelling online presence — including engaging content, product info, reviews, and easy-access purchasing channels. This is true for most U.S. audiences but especially so for certain segments of the population — particularly U.S. Hispanics.

As Hispanic marketing experts, we are often asked about online shopping behaviors of the U.S. Latino and whether it matters to have in-language, in-culture content online to capture this segment. Our answer is a resounding “Yes!” — particularly considering the following demographic and behavioral characteristics of the U.S. Hispanic population:

  • Hispanics are younger. More than 22 percent of the U.S. population younger than 30 is Hispanic. The average age for Hispanics is more than 10 years younger than the general U.S. population (27 vs. 38, respectively). Their younger age can be one of the major drivers of their relatively higher digital engagement and mobile device usage.
  • Hispanics pay attention to online ads and content. According to a recent Google-sponsored study, 66 percent of U.S. Hispanic online users said they pay attention to digital ads, which was almost 20 points higher than their non-Hispanic counterparts. In fact, Hispanics use online sources at a higher rate than the general online population (54 percent vs. 46 percent) when moving through the process of purchase intent to buying.
  • Hispanics are bilingual, and cultural content is important. Most U.S. Hispanics (85 percent) tend to interact regularly in both languages, particularly in social settings, with strong preferences given to brands that engage and advertise to them in Spanish. Regardless of language, however, Hispanics are more likely to buy products and services that target them with culturally relevant content. Whether on TV, online, or on the radio, when an ad includes relevant cultural cues, the Latino consumer is more likely to pay attention to it and have a favorable impression of the brand.
  • Hispanics research and share product reviews, recommendations, and experiences at a higher rate. This is also an extension of strong cultural cues that value word of mouth — recommendations from friends and family, offline or online. Based on a recently published IRI study, “Hispanics are more engaged [than the general population] in the entire shopping experience and have a much higher likelihood to seek out information online, especially for promotions, product selection, and recommendation/reviews.”
  • Hispanics are highly penetrated in their use of online retailers and social media ad platforms. There are more than 30 million U.S. Hispanics utilizing Facebook on a regular basis, the majority of which access it through mobile devices. They’re also active on e-retailing sites, with Amazon being the highest penetrated online retailer. As validation of growing U.S. Latino buying power and its bilingual tendencies, Amazon just announced the rollout of a new Spanish-language site option for its U.S.-based e-commerce site. This alone should perk up U.S. marketers to the growing importance of having a digital presence targeting the Latino, Spanish-language-preferred segment.

U.S. Hispanics represent a significant opportunity for marketers looking for growth beyond their general market sales, but success will require a keen and current sense of Latino shopping tendencies online. The best marketers will ensure that this demographic can receive easily accessible product information in both Spanish and English, as well as actively advertise and engage with them using culturally relevant content — particularly across major online commerce and social platforms. ■

About the Author: Denira Borrero

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